What's in season in July

Summer is in full swing and July brings plenty of seasonal fruit and veg to enjoy in the sunshine. Runner beans and peas bring fresh flavour to a variety of summer dishes, while earthy beetroot adds bold colour. For puddings, it's all about berries. Make the most of the short gooseberry season by swirling them into creamy fools or baking into cakes for picnics. Blackberries and cherries are also in abundance throughout July, making it easy to whip up sweet fruity desserts all month.

  1. Beetroot

    Sweet and earthy in flavour and a beautiful, vibrant purple in colour, beetroot is extremely versatile. Wash your hands as soon as you've finished preparing beetroot, as the purple juice can stain your fingers. Add beetroot to a range of dishes –  follow our step-by-step recipe for a hearty beetroot Wellington for an impressive vegetarian main, or for something simpler try this beetroot carpaccio for an easy starter. Don’t let anything go to waste with bold beetroot fritters, served with a sticky relish made from the beetroot stalks.

  2. Peas

    These bright, luscious pods are at their best from now until October. Peas can be whizzed to make a soup, braised in butter or blanched as a side (add mint to enhance their flavour). Choose pods that are full but not bulging – less mature peas are softer and sweeter. Whizz peas with watercress for a twist on classic spaghetti and pesto or blend with lettuce for a light summer soup.

  3. Gooseberries

    These tangy berries are only available for a short time, so grab them fast! Green, early season gooseberries have a tart flavour and are usually used for cooking, while later, red-tinged fruits are sweeter and milder. Gooseberries and floral elderflower are a classic flavour combination – try it in this elegant summer cheesecake with a crisp gingernut crust. Add prosecco to the mix with these gooseberry, mint and prosecco jellies for an elegant summer dessert.

  4. Runner beans

    Runner beans are longer and stronger in flavour than green beans, but can be used in many of the same recipes. For the freshest veg, look for young, crisp beans with firm pods. The beans will need to be top and tailed, and for larger or older beans also remove the string. Try slicing into this quick seafood paella with squid, cod and prawns.

  5. Cherries

    These sweet summer fruits have been grown since Roman times, and became popular in Britain in the 15th century. Don’t have a cherry pitter? You can use a chopstick or an icing nozzle to remove the stone. Sweet cherries are a perfect match for dark chocolate. Chocolate, ginger and cherry tiffin is an easy treat to take on a picnic, or roast cherries and serve with glossy chocolate sauce for a dessert ready in less than 15 minutes.

  6. Blackberries

    These sharp yet sweet fruits are at their best in late summer. In British folklore, it was believed to be unlucky to pick wild blackberries after Michaelmas, on 29 September – so make the most of them while you can! They’re best stored unwashed, on a layer of kitchen paper in the fridge to prevent them crushing each other. The berries make a delicious juicy centre to these blackberry surprise muffinsor swirl into tangy blackberry and lemon cheesecake ice cream. Blackberries are also great in cocktails – try Moscow mules or a pitcher of gin fizz.